Category Archives: Faith

Choose Now, Choose Well – C. S. Lewis

Excerpted from A Year with C. S. Lewis December 7

Why is God landing in this enemy-occupied world in disguise and starting a sort of secret society to undermine the devil?

….. Why is He not landing in force, invading it? Well, Christians think He is going to land in force; we do not know when.

[Why is he delaying] He wants to give us the chance of joining His side freely…

God will invade…

When that happens, it is the end of the world.

When the author walks on to the stage the play is over.

God is going to invade, all right: but what is the good of saying you are on His side then, when you see the whole natural universe melting away like a dream and something else – something it never entered your head to conceive – comes crashing in; something so beautiful to some of us and so terrible to others that none of us will have any choice left? For this time it will God without disguise; something so overwhelming that it will strike either irresistible love or irresistible horror into every creature. It will be too late then to choose your side. There is no use saying you choose to lie down when it has become impossible to stand up. That will not be the time for choosing; it will be the time when we discover which side we really have chosen, whether we realised it before or not. Now, today, this moment, is our chance to choose the right side. God is holding back to give us that chance. It will not last for ever. We must take it or leave it.

Comparing Cats and Dogs (Or Christians)

C. S. Lewis was so far ahead of his time as a Christian thinker. The following excerpt from Mere Christianity 1952 expresses my deeply held thoughts on the problems sorting people of faith. I’ve been both castigated and celebrated for similar views.

Comparing Cats and Dogs

(The complexity of comparing Christians and non-Christians)

The situation in the actual world is much more complicated than that. The world does not consist of 100% Christians and 100% non-Christians. There are people (a great many of them) who are slowly ceasing to be Christians but who still call themselves by that name:

some of them are clergymen. There are other people who are slowly becoming Christians though they do not yet call themselves so. There are people who do not accept the full Christian doctrine about Christ but who are so strongly attracted by Him that they are His in a much deeper sense than they themselves understand. There are people in other religions who are being led by God’s secret influence to concentrate on those parts of their religion which are in agreement with Christianity, and who thus belong to Christ without knowing it.

For example, a Buddhist of good will may be led to concentrate more and more on the Buddhist teaching about mercy and to leave in the background (though he might still say he believed) the Buddhist teaching on certain other points. Many of the good Pagans long before Christ’s birth may have been in this position. And always, of course, there are a great many people who are just confused in mind and have a lot of inconsistent beliefs all jumbled up together. Consequently, it is not much use trying to make judgments about Christians and non-Christians in the mass. It is some use comparing cats and dogs… in the mass, because there one knows definitely which is which. Also, an animal does not turn (either slowly or suddenly) from a dog into a cat.  But when we are comparing Christians in general with non-Christians in general, we are usually not thinking about real people whom we know at all, but only about two vague ideas which we have got from novels and newspapers. If you want to compare the bad Christian and the good Atheist, you must think about two real specimens whom you have actually met. Unless we come down to brass tacks in that way, we shall only be wasting time.

Quotes from Mere Christianity, Part 84

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (1952; Harper Collins: 2001) 208-209.

The Power of Ion

the-power-of-ionDuring my morning prayers, as I went through the list of things, I was struck with a thought: While reading my prayer list and asking God to do or help myself and others with things placed on my heart, the suffix -ion leaped into my lap (as a writer of fiction that’s the way I see it). Fiction, there’s another -ion word.

-Ion is a suffix appearing in words of Latin origin, denoting action or condition. It is used in Latin and in English to form nouns from stems of Latin adjectives (communion; union), verbs (legion; opinion), and especially past participles (allusion; creation; fusion; notion; torsion).
A few thoughts thumped and bumped in my head:
-Ion changes things like an adjective to a noun. It takes a modifier and makes something out of it.

-Ion is an action word; it gets things done.

-Ion ends one of my favorite words, FICT-ion. One of my passions is writing, reading, and dreaming up fict-ion-al tales.

AND

ION is a noun used in Physics and Chemistry:

Defined as an electrically charged atom or group of atoms formed by the loss or gain of one or more electrons, as a cation (positive ion) which is created by electron loss and is attracted to the cathode in electrolysis, or as an anion (negative ion) which is created by an electron gain and is attracted to the anode. (A lot of God words in there)

The same process is used in batteries to store and release power.

Batteries have three parts, an anode (-), a cathode (+), and the electrolyte. The cathode and anode (the positive and negative sides at either end of a traditional battery) are hooked up to an electrical circuit. The chemical reaction in the battery causes a buildup of electrons at the anode.

Those definitions tell me that I-O-N has power

So when you’re praying for, vision, direction, provision, passion, or protection, you are activating powerful forces.

Fiction does a similar thing releasing the power of imagination and, if it’s good fiction, it speaks truth to the parts of our soul that only God can reach.

Fiction is a lie, and good fiction is the truth inside the lie.” – Stephen King

“Literature is a luxury; fiction is a necessity.” ― G.K. Chesterton

“Fiction is the lie through which we tell the truth.” – Albert Camus

 

Divine Insanity

divine-madness-plato-m-l-engle

Here, I offer my own bit of madness at work.

In the classical world, the phenomenon of “love at first sight” was understood within the context of a more general conception of passionate love, a kind of madness or, as the Greeks put it, Theia Mania (“madness from the gods”). -Frank Tallis “Crazy for You”

But what if God himself were the maddest of all? (I say so only from our human point of view) For if God were indeed mad, then mad would be normal and the loftiest goal to aspire to.

Some say God’s mad as in angry; I know it’s not true,
But, perhaps God still is the maddest of all.
Divinely Mad,
Madly Divine,

Omnipotent Madness shaped us stable and sound,
All things in our power, save for one little tree.

One little tree that would bring us to be,
Broken and marred, ashamed and weighed down.
Yet, Omnipotent Madness, never left town.

Wallowed in mire, we were tragic in deed,
‘till the Madness of God, Hung His Son on a tree.

Bleeding and dying, the whole world in His sight,
Forgive them! He cried, ‘till, He suffered and died.

Wrapped in white linen he lay in the tomb,
Three days in the dark as hope slipped away,
None could remember this mind-boggling promise.

“Give me three days, and you’ll see me again.”

So, our story’s not over,
Wait there’s still more,

Omnipotent Madness made a decree,

“Raise Him again and let the whole world see!”

So, in Power and Glory, Christ rose from His grave.
Five-hundred and more, saw, touched, and felt.
Mary thought him a gardener,
Yet, you still won’t believe?

What will it take for the truth you to see?
Divinity died for you and for me.

Perhaps for a good man, some would dare die,
But ragged old sinners, cast offs and lame?
It’s hard to believe that God could be sane.

-M. Matheson revised 2016

I welcome your thoughts and comments, but please, if you want a theological argument, consider my madness and then move along.

einstein-laughing

Impossible

Taking Jericho, my next book, is not about playing the odds, it’s about beating them by not living according to what’s possible but instead ordering our lives along the lines of impossibilities; not being limited by what is the commonly accepted definition of possible. A life like that is entirely possible.

To be enslaved by or at the very least limited by what’s possible in life is much too narrow of existence for me, much like how I once heard a rut described.freshly-dug-grave

“The only difference between a rut and a grave are the dimensions.”
Ellen Glasgow

stuck-in-a-rut-295x300

 

Many of the things, goals and/or accomplishments I want seem so unlikely, but that doesn’t mean I don’t believe they could happen. Some call that arrogance or a fanciful form of extreme optimism. I am often guilty of the former but seldom the latter. Still, I realize my faith can at times be arrogant.

“With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Jesus of Nazareth

The words of Jesus inform the basis for my belief in the impossible coming to pass.

On that note, the grave is not the end. We all live forever. Living forever is something many people have searched for, and there it sits, right under their noses, either stinking up the environment or adding the sweet perfume of eternity.

As I sniff the crisp air of eternity, I sense the possible dressed up as the impossible.

IMPOSSIBLE is the impostor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s possible for you?

I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well. Psalms 139:14